The winter can be just as much of a drain on our dogs as it is for us! I know that I miss the sunshine, wearing shorts and tank tops, going to the dog park, and spending time at my home-away-from-home on the Tennessee River (also know as my in-laws’ houseboat).
Our dogs can be affected by being cooped up in the house as well! Our long walks together get shorter and shorter, trips to the dog park pretty much disappear, and backyard time together is almost nil when my hands freeze during a wintertime game of fetch. I’m a sissy when it comes to the cold! Thank goodness there are plenty of ways to keep your dog happy, healthy and prevent cabin fever when stuck indoors!
How About a Little Mental Stimulation?
My dogs love it when I stuff a Kong
for them. You can stuff it full of their favorite treat, or you can put plain yogurt or peanut butter inside and then freeze it overnight. The next day they will have so much fun licking out the frozen treat.
Winter is a great time to get some training done with your dog. Make sure you and your doggy have worked on ‘sit’ ‘stay’ and ‘lay down’. Try ‘leave it’ and ‘come’, and even ‘shake’ and ‘roll over’. All this training can easily be done indoors.
Get the Blood Pumping.
If you have a staircase in your home, use it! Get your dog to run up and down the stairs. You can run with them, or have someone at the top and the bottom of the staircase to encourage them and/or have a few tempting treats.
Try your dog out on your home treadmill for some exercise. Just make sure that you supervise your dog the entire time he is on the treadmill, and start him out on a very slow setting and gradually increase as he gets used to the movement.
Hide a toy or treat somewhere in the house, and have your dog search it out. This will provide physical activity as well as mental stimulation.
Try the good ole’ tried and true tug of war with your dogs…as long as you’re in a big enough area. This can get tails wagging everywhere!
If all else fails, bundle yourself up, put your dog in his winter sweater, and get outside for a while. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved and happy dog. Just remember to bring your doggy in with you when you’re done. It’s cold out there!